Tuesday, November 29, 2016

32 Winter Themes for Preschool

If you've begun to plan your winter lesson plans, I'm here to help! Here are 32 different winter themes and topics that you can choose from when you're looking for new ideas!

  1. Ice
  2. Snow
  3. Snowmen
  4. Christmas
  5. Hanukkah
  6. Kwanzaa
  7. Winter Clothing
  8. Christmas Lights
  9. Pine Trees
  10. Jingle Bells
  11. Cookies
  12. Gift Wrap
  13. Bows
  14. Sledding
  15. Skiing
  16. Ice Skating
  17. Winter Animals
  18. Peppermint
  19. Candy Canes
  20. Pine cones
  21. Cranberries
  22. Cinnamon
  23. Quilts and blankets
  24. Boots
  25. New Year
  26. Ground Hog Day
  27. President's Day
  28. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  29. Valentine's Day
  30. Conversation Hearts
  31. Hot Chocolate
  32. Igloos
Here's a graphic if you prefer!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday

I hope that you aren't all shopped out because TPT is having their annual Cyber Monday sale - only TPT's sale is better because it's Monday AND Tuesday! I always share my wishlist with you for these big sales, so here it i - this is what I'll be buying:

I can't wait to use these Winter Photo Booth Props from Old Market at our holiday party!

Ahh! I'm absolutely in love with these weather movement cards from Lisa Markle Sparkles in Preschool, the cards are adorable and this would be such a fun way to explore weather concepts.  

It's not a wishlist without something from Play to Learn Preschool, and this Dramatic Play Hot Cocoa set is perfect for the holiday season!

And if you're still looking for that perfect item to add to your own wishlist, here's one of my favorite things from my own store:

This time of year is all about celebrations, and you can't have a good celebration without decorations! I can't say enough about this Classroom Decoration bundle because it has made my life so much easier - seriously - printable, easy to store classroom decor for every holiday, season, and celebration you can imagine!

So get over to Teacher's Pay Teachers and check out the sale (don't forget to use the code CYBER2016), and then come back and tell me about the amazing purchases that you made!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Freebie - Thanksgiving Pie

Happy Friday! I'm spending the day shopping, putting up my Christmas decorations, and relaxing - I hope that you get to do some of the same!

I know that Thanksgiving is over, but this activity is a great one to stash away for next year.  This Thankful Pie craftivity from Lindy du Plessis looks like a great way to help children think about all of the things they are thankful for, I bet that parents would love to see what their children came up with.  Add this one to your file for next year and enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that your holiday is wonderful and relaxing!

*Card image from Snapfish*

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tips for celebrating Thanksgiving with little ones

Do you have any young children attending your Thanksgiving celebration? I wanted to make sure to share one of my most popular posts because it is full of tips for avoiding meltdowns and keeping toddlers and preschoolers happy on Thanksgiving day.  You can check that post out here!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Family Engagment - Discussing Thanksgiving

I like to take any opportunity that I can get to involve families in my classroom discussions and investigations, so I created this great freebie in order to find out a little more about each of my individual students' family Thanksgiving celebration.

Send this questionnaire home with your students to find out what each of their Thanksgiving celebrations is like.  Ask them to bring it back after the holiday and compare and contrast the foods that they ate, what they liked and did not like, and give children the opportunity to share their own special traditions. This is a great way to help little ones understand that their families have similarities, and to help them celebrate their differences. 

Download the free questionnaire HERE!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Freebie - Holiday Checklists

Happy Friday! We've made, just a couple more days until Thanksgiving (and hopefully a nice little break), and then we rush headfirst into December.

If you have given any thought at all to everything you have to get done in December - even if just to dread managing all of it - then this freebie is for you. I am so excited about this Holiday Checklist Sampler from Ladybug's Teacher Files.  You put your students' names into one list and it automatically fills all of the lists for you, so you have easy checklists to help you make sure that everyone has finished their gifts for their families and you can track the student gifts that you've distributed and received. Download your set now and get organized before all the chaos begins! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Favorite Things - Preschool Teacher Edition

Every year I channel my inner Oprah to share my favorite things with you.  My hope is that this list will help you shop for gifts that your favorite preschool teacher is sure to love, just like I do! All of the links below are Amazon affiliates, here's the list for 2016:

I love my Alex and Ani bracelets because they can be casual or dressy - which is perfect for a preschool teacher's wardrobe.  I also love that the price point makes them an ideal gift for any occasion. 

I always have a water bottle with me, and my current favorites are glass bottles with a screw-off lid.  This Kate Spade Water Bottle is the perfect size, and the silicone sleeve protects the glass bottle from breaking if it gets dropped, and the gold glitter doesn't hurt either!

I use legal pads all day long, but there are times when I'm heading into a meeting or conference that I like to have something a little nicer than a yellow legal pad.  This pad-folio is gorgeous, comes with a notepad, and also has an inside pocket, and a clip on the front.  This is a useful tool that is fun to look at, and in my book that's what makes a great gift. 

A teacher can never have enough tote bags, and I love to leave these casual canvas bags in the closet in the classroom for those days when I have too much stuff to take home with me. I have one just like this and it has saved the day many many times!

The first time that I tried Bark Thins I moaned out loud.  These are SO good, they come in different flavors but the dark chocolate sea salt are my favorite.  I love these because they are really rich, so after having two or three you're ready to stop, which makes them a perfect treat. 

This charger tassel keychain from Belkin just might be the best thing that I've bought all year.  The tassel hides the charger cables (for iphone and ipad), and I am constantly plugging this into my computer or the USB jack in my car to give my phone battery an extra boost.  I may or may not have bought a few of these for special people on my own shopping list!

These LC Lauren Conrad Scalloped Flats are my all-time favorite dress shoe.  These have been my go-to shoes for just about every work outfit for the last three years. I'm actually on my second pair because I wore out the first pair that I bought and loved them so much I went back for another.  They are super comfortable and don't need to be broken in at all, which is a plus for someone who spends a lot of time on her feet. (This is not an Amazon link, these are from Kohls!)

I don't have a Happy Planner, but I do have these Happy Planner Stickers and I use them regularly to dress up my regular old monthly planner.  It's the adult equivalent of putting stickers all over my notebook and I absolutely love it.  I promise that I work a lot harder to keep my planner up to date when it's so fun to look at!

I'm definitely a coffee girl, but when I want something sweeter Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa K-Cups are the best! They taste like a rich indulgence, but they don't pack a ton of calories, and since they're k-cups they are quick and easy. 

This last item is definitely a splurge, but I can't make a list of my favorite things without including them.  I bought these UGG Ansley Slippers as a gift for myself and they were worth every penny.  If you've never tried on UGGs before they definitely live up to the hype, let me tell you they are softer and warmer than any other shoe that I've ever worn.  I don't think I could ever bring myself to purchase a pair of boots, because I know I would ruin them, but that's the beauty of the slippers, I'll never wear them outside so they'll stay nice so much longer!

I hope that this list will help you check a few people off of your shopping list, if you're still looking for inspiration make sure to check out My Favorite Things Teacher Edition from 2015 and from 2014!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Preschool Gift Guide 2016

I know that we haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet, but since the official start of the holiday shopping season is next Friday that means it's time for my annual gift guides.  The following items would be perfect for the preschoolers in your life - these would also be great gifts for any preschool classroom! All links are Amazon affiliates.
If this Green Toys Salad Set doesn't inspire healthy eating then I don't know what will. I love Green Toys because they are made of recycled materials, and their food sets are so much fun, make sure to check out the Pizza Set too!

A play kitchen is an amazing holiday gift, and this Little Tykes Cook'n Learn Smart Kitchen meets all of the requirements. I usually prefer wooden play sets, but this particular set is one unit, doesn't take up a ton of space, and uses natural colors.  I don't think it's necessary to have an iPad in your play kitchen, but if we're being honest I certainly use mine for recipes when I cook, so if children are imitating adults when they play then I guess it makes sense. I also love that it includes all of the food and utensils.

It's not a preschool gift guide if it doesn't include something from Melissa and Doug and to be honest, I'm considering buying this Wooden Coffee Set for myself! It's realistic, and at the same time absolutely gorgeous. Any preschooler would be happy to make you coffee with this set.

Have you heard about If You Give a Mouse a Brownie?! This book is brand new and no preschool library will be complete without it!

If there was only one toy that my students could all agree on, it was Bristle Blocks, and this set from B. Toys is extra fun because the pieces let children build colorful characters. Bristle blocks are fun for all ages, so parents and older siblings will love these too.

Crayola products were always the highlight of my holidays as a kid, and I firmly believe that this generation should experience the joy that comes with receiving the fun stuff - you know, the products that you aren't required to have for school.  This Light Up Dry Erase Board would be hours of fun!

The Book With No Pictures is perfect for older preschoolers who love silly stories.  Nonsense words and funny songs make up this story that is just as entertaining as any picture book,

Play Doh always has something new and fun, and this Cook-Out Creations set is no exception.  Children can mold burgers, buns, hot dogs, and all the fixings, and then cook them right on the grill.

This A-Z Animal Puzzle from BeginAgain is not your average puzzle.  Each animal corresponds with a letter of the alphabet, and fits into it's own unique place.  These chunky animals can also be used as animal figurines, making it a two-in-one toy.

Teepees are the thing this year, and this one from Discovery Kids is fun for little ones, and cool enough that moms would be happy to have it in their yard (or their living room).  They are easy to put up and take down, so they don't have to be up all of the time, and they can give your preschooler a space that is all their own.  

I hope that this list has given you some ideas for the infants that you're shopping for. If you're still looking for more inspiration be sure to check out my Preschool Gift Guide from 2015!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Toddler Gift Guide 2016

I know that we haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet, but since the official start of the holiday shopping season is next Friday that means it's time for my annual gift guides.  The following items would be perfect for the toddlers in your life - these would also be great gifts for any toddler classroom! All links are Amazon affiliates.

These Boon Water Pipes are the best bath toys! They suction to the wall of the bathtub and each pipe has a different function.  Toddlers can explore them each on it's own, or line them up to create a pipe maze for the water to flow through.  This will definitely help banish the bath time tantrums!

Green toys are my favorite vehicles, they're large, sturdy, and made of recycled materials.  This fire truck would be a hit with any toddler, but they've also got every other vehicle that you can imagine.

These Busy Books are my new favorite toddler gifts.  The illustrations are whimsical and a little different and each page is full of things to look for. These are the kinds of books that you could look at for hours and still see something different every time you turn the page. The best part is that they are sturdy like board books, so they'll handle the beating they are sure to receive.

This Remote Control Car from B. Toys is the perfect first remote control car.  The remote only has one button, which means that a toddler can easily use it all on their own.  B. Toys are also know for their durability, so it will stand up to being run into the wall repeatedly!

Manhattan Toy's Baby Stella doll is my favorite soft baby doll for little ones. The doll has simple feature that aren't creepy-looking (which is harder to find than you might think).  You can get additional clothes and accessories, and the doll is also available in a boy version

I grew up reading Little Critter, and I love being able to share him with the little ones in my life.  This Little Critter Collection includes 7 favorite Little Critter stories. I love little Critter for toddlers because the language is simple and the stories include topics that are meaningful for toddlers - bedtime, being angry, doing things for themselves, and making messes. The illustrations are always sure to inspire some giggles.

These pattern blocks are ideal for toddlers because they are made of foam and they have magnet backs.  Little ones won't be frustrated by the blocks shift around when they can stick them to the refrigerator or a cookie sheet.  They are also wonderful for introducing toddlers to new shapes, and encouraging creativity with a little geometry. Plus, there are plenty in this set to share!

I love Edushape foam blocks because they have a fabulous woodgrain, but they're still foam.  This set My Soft World Set includes everything a toddler needs to build a little town all their own.

BeginAgain Buddy Blocks come in sets of four blocks that children have to twist and turn to complete different animal puzzles.  These little blocks could keep a toddler busy for hours and each block measures 1.25" square so these are small enough to take along on any trip.

This Moon Balancing Puzzle is perfect for practicing fine motor skills, self-regulation, and frustration tolerance.  It also comes with a dice so that you can turn it into a fun turn-taking game.

I hope that this list has given you some ideas for the infants that you're shopping for. If you're still looking for more inspiration be sure to check out my Toddler Gift Guide from 2015!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Infant Gift Guide 2016

I know that we haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet, but since the official start of the holiday shopping season is next Friday that means it's time for my annual gift guides.  The following items would be perfect for the infants in your life - these would also be great gifts for any infant classroom! All links are Amazon affiliates.

I always include these Sassy Ring'O Links in my infant gifts for a couple of reasons; They are simple toys that are safe for the smallest infants to grasp and chew, they don't take up a ton of space making them easily portable and perfect for the diaper bag, they are appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers so baby will use them for years to come, and they are one of the few infant toys available that can be fun for adults too!

I'm a huge fan of bath toys like these Munchkin Ocean Squirts because they can be used all day long, not just in the bath tub.  They're cute and easy for little ones to hold onto and they can also inspire exploration of cause and effect when babies realize that they can squeeze them and make noise - or make water come out!

B. Toys has always been one of my favorite brands, and these B. LucKeys are exactly why.  They look more like a real set of keys than anything else on the market - and we all know that kids know the difference and would much rather play with the real thing.  They have buttons that make noise just like real keys too!

Pacifier Clips are a practical gift that any parent will appreciate.  These wonderful little clips keep pacifiers from tumbling to the floor when they get spit out, meaning fewer lost pacifiers! These are also available in black and white if the colors aren't your thing.

Aren't these BEBE Cookie Teethers so much fun?! They come as a set of two, one is firm and the other is softer, and the texture massages baby's gums as they chew.  This is a cute little gift that will score a ton of compliments!

I absolutely adore silicone teething necklaces. They come in so many styles and colors that I've considered buying some just to wear - and I don't even have an infant! This is a great gift for mom or baby.

Bear and Friends are some of my all-time favorite characters and I'm so glad that Karma Wilson has these books available in board book versions.  Each story has a wonderful lesson about friendship and the characters share feelings that little ones can relate to.  This set is an asset to any child's book collection.

HABA wooden toys are irresistible, and this Classic Wooden Camera is no exception.  This is another toy that any child on your list will play with for years to come!

I an't resist a Melissa and Doug Chunky Puzzle, and this Christmas version is gorgeous! I love these because even children who aren't ready for puzzles and enjoy the thick puzzle pieces, they become toys all on their own - these can be taken along without the puzzle board to keep baby occupied during holiday events.

If you know a child who is a fan of Little Blue Truck, then Little Blue Truck's Christmas is a must have gift.  There is also a Halloween version available, so you may want to complete their entire set!

I hope that this list has given you some ideas for the infants that you're shopping for. If you're still looking for more inspiration be sure to check out my Infant Gift Guide from 2015!